Racing dogs are muzzled 95 percent of the time and kept inside stacked cages for 20-23 hours every day. Photo by Alamy
Greyhound racing is a bleak and sordid enterprise for the animals. The dogs are confined 20-23 hours a day in stacked, warehouse-style metal cages barely large enough for them to turn around in, and death rates on the tracks are high. In Florida alone, one dog, on an average, dies every three days on the racetrack.
But hope is at hand. On Nov. 6, the voters of Florida, the largest remaining bastion of this “sport” in the United States, will consider a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by 2020. Today, a chorus of 30 celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Pierce Brosnan, Slash and Owen Wilson, have added their voices to those already speaking out, urging a “yes” vote on the constitutional amendment.
“A victory on Amendment 13 will be a significant blow to the industry and will help bring an end to this cruel practice in this country,” says the letter whose signatories include Uzo Aduba, Wilmer Valderrama, Rainn Wilson, Minka Kelly, Scott Eastwood and Kristin Bauer.
We, along with our allies at GREY2K USA Worldwide, the Doris Day Animal League and others, have been working hard to push this amendment across the finish line, generating broad, bipartisan support from government, business leaders, civic organizations, animal welfare organizations, local animal shelters and veterinarians in Florida.
But as Election Day approaches, opponents of this measure, including the American Kennel Club, the NRA and the Farm Bureau, have ramped up their efforts to defeat it, using baseless and deceptive tactics to attempt to mobilize farmers, ranchers and gun owners across the state against Amendment 13, although it has nothing to do with their industries or interests. With a 60 percent majority needed to approve the measure, we’ll need every last voter on our side.
To highlight the industry’s cruelties, we are also releasing today an undercover video shot at Palm Beach Kennel Club in April that shows disturbing glimpses into the lives of the greyhounds. The dogs — muzzled 95 percent of the time — can be seen hyperventilating inside the stacked cages where they remain most of the day, before they are released only to make a mad dash around the racetrack in chase of a mechanical lure. This is no way to treat these beautiful animals.
There are now approximately 8,000 greyhounds in Florida’s racing industry, and since the state began tracking greyhound deaths in 2013, 493 dogs have died on its tracks. Ninety-four percent of these dogs were three years old or younger. In a single county, Seminole, since May 2017, 87 greyhound injuries have been reported, including 64 greyhounds who suffered broken bones and five dogs who died.
In addition to these critical threats to animal welfare, there is the sad issue of doping in the greyhound racing industry. Over the past decade there have been more than 400 greyhound drug positives at Florida tracks, including 73 greyhound cocaine positives, and positive results for novocaine, lidocaine, industrial solvent DMSO, and opiates oxycodone and oxymorphone.
Greyhound racing is a dying enterprise, already illegal in 40 states, and where it does exist, the dogs mostly run in front of empty or near-empty bleachers. Ending it in Florida, home to 11 of the remaining 17 greyhound racing tracks in the United States, would all but guarantee the end of this industry in the United States. Let’s strike a death blow to this enterprise built on the suffering of animals.
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